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Travel ban on Lebanon's central bank governor lifted - prosecutor

FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh speaks during an interview for Reuters Next conference, in Beirut, Lebanon November 23, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

A travel ban on Lebanon's central bank governor Riad Salameh was lifted on Thursday, public prosecutor Ghada Aoun told Reuters, in a move aimed at paving the way for him to attend a hearing in Paris related to a cross-border graft probe.

Salameh and his French lawyer Pierre-Olivier Sur did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether the governor would attend a hearing in Paris set by French prosecutors on May 16.

Salameh, who has been at the helm of the central bank for three decades, is being investigated in Lebanon, in France and in at least four other European countries over accusations of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and laundering some of the proceeds abroad.

Salameh denies the accusations, saying he is being made a scapegoat for Lebanon's financial crisis that erupted in 2019.

French prosecutors, who have not formally named Salameh as a suspect, have summoned him for a hearing in Paris on May 16, Sur told Reuters last week. The lawyer said it was not clear whether his client would be able to come to the hearing because his travels were restricted as part of Lebanese investigations.

Sur told Reuters he may challenge the hearing itself on procedural grounds.

(Reporting by Alaa Swilam, Timour Azhari and David Gauthier-Villars; Editing by William Maclean and Mike Harrison)

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